Hey Brands, we’ve got a little secret for you. It’s not enough to just simply be on social media, you have to actually engage with your communities. Nothing grinds our gears more than seeing a national brand completely ignore their fan base online. What’s the point of building a community if all you do is push sales messages out to them? This becomes all the more apparent when members of your community have a negative experience with your product or are flat out pissed off about something. Case in point: The Children’s Place.
Fans of the movie, “The Guardians of the Galaxy,” noticed that the film’s one female hero, Gamora, was missing from merchandise sold at The Children’s Place. One mom reached out to the company asking why Gamora was absent and received this response: “This Guardians of the Galaxy shirt in particular is a boy’s shirt, which is why is doesn’t include the female character Gamora.” There are a lot of assumptions here. The first is that little girls don’t like superhero movies and the second is that little boys can’t admire or identify with a female character - even one that kicks ass. Even worse than that is the complete silence The Children’s Place has exhibited once more concerned parents starting asking questions. A quick look to their Facebook page shows that they’ve not answered a single question posted by fans there. Even customer service questions regarding fit and shipping go ignored. Their Twitter page is even worse: The Children’s Place has never replied to any tweets sent their way - good, bad, or otherwise. This is akin to someone giving you a compliment in real life and you staring blankly back at them or worse, blurting out that you’re having a 30% off sale. That’s just awkward.
Brands need to make it a habit of regularly engaging with their fans on their social media platforms. If someone tweets that they are head over heels in love with you, thank them. If someone has a customer service complaint, handle it for them or make sure they are put in touch with the right department. If someone is bitching about you, for Pete’s sake, try to find out why. Marketing is a two-way street. It’s no longer enough to pump marketing and sales messages out to your consumers. Customers, fans, influencers and detractors of your brand all own equal share of your marketing message. Make sure you’re not being left out of the conversation that is already happening around your brand.